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A diary of the century : tales from America'a greatest diarist /
Edward Robb Ellis ; caricatures by the author ; introduction by Pete Hamill.
New York : Kodansha International, 1995.
xxvi, 578 p., [24] p. of plates : ill. ; 25 cm.
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New York : Kodansha International, 1995.
general note
Includes index.
catalogue key
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Library Journal on 1995-09-15:
Ellis (A Nation in Torment, Marboro Bks., 1990) has achieved something singularly remarkable. For the past 68 years the journalist's diary has recorded his interactions with presidents, other politicians, movie stars, religious leaders, murderers, prostitutes, and individuals who believe they are God. The diary begins during the author's boyhood in rural Illinois, follows reporting stints in New Orleans, Oklahoma City, Peoria, Chicago, and New York City, and continues through his years as an author. Ellis, through his diary, lends a fresh perspective on some of the greatest events and personalities of the age while providing the reader with a sense of day-to-day life in America during the past century. This important and highly entertaining work will find an audience with historians, students of journalism, and general readers. Recommended for all libraries.‘Robert Favini, Bentley Coll. Lib., Waltham, Mass.
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 1995-08-07:
Retired journalist Ellis (The Epic of New York City) has spent a lifetime annotating his life: his diary, started on a bet in 1927 when he was 17, has earned him inclusion in the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest in the world. Though an edited version can only skim the surface of what he actually recorded (some 20 million words over 67 years, and still accumulating), the bare bones presentation nevertheless fulfills the goal Ellis set early on: to provide not a record "of world deeds, mighty achievements, conquest" but "the drama of the unfolding life of one individual, day after day after day." Gleefully annotating his own annotations, Ellis provides a gloss on many of the entries that survived the cut from diary to book, obviously seeking to balance highlights from private life (first shave, first kiss, first byline) with choice descriptions of mainly professional encounters with the famous (e.g., Huey Long, Herbert Hoover, e.e. cummings) and the obscure (a failed suicide, two 12-year-olds fishing in a New York City park). Written in plain prose and with the sense that history is peering over his shoulder, Ellis's frank record movingly captures the march of time both outward and inward. Quoting Zola on literature, he describes his diary as "a slice of life seen through a temperament," an apt description for this often surprising and always humane document. Photos. (Sept.)
This item was reviewed in:
Kirkus Reviews,
Publishers Weekly, August 1995
Booklist, September 1995
Library Journal, September 1995
Reference & Research Book News, December 1995
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